Buffalo Mountain Trail, incredible scenery as you hike 3008 ft in elevation in just 3 miles to the summit. Definitely worth the climb for the views! Sounds difficult but if you take your time it’s doable for moderate hikers who don’t mind a lot of rock scrambling.


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When we started we thought we would head for Buffalo Cabin and soon found ourselves on the way up to Buffalo Mountain.



After first crossing through a burnt area of forest we were greeted with a gentle hike for about 1/4 mile through a lodgepole forest and now entering the Eaglesnest Wilderness.




Coming to an intersection with a signpost leading us to the left. Now things begin to change and we are heading up an incline on an old dirt road full of snow.




Hiking up the road through a dense forest looking everywhere for the cabins all the while it’s getting steeper. Deciding that we must have passed the cabins somewhere hidden in the snow along the way we keep ongoing.



The trail has narrowed and no longer on the road but heading upward along the ridge. Now I know we are headed to the summit of Buffalo Mountain.





Rock outcroppings along the trail provided astonishing views of Lake Dillon and the surrounding Mountains. Picking our Torreys and Grays Peaks as well as the slopes of Keystone Ski Area far beyond.

This adorable snowman was a treat sitting atop a rock that someone before us left behind from the first snows of the season. It’s the first day of November and any snow that falls now will not melt until springtime!



Looking back at what we just scrambled up. Lots of rocks had a few orange markings on them to let us know where to go. Was hard to see clearly the way up but with other footprints here and there and the markings on the rocks you will figure it out.





It’s pretty cold and icy but far ahead you can see that treeline appears to be just up ahead with sunshine.




Hiking upward on a steady incline and this is where my photos stop. I ran out of battery and my camera has died. We are almost to treeline and I am super bummed!


We broke out of treeline then scrambled across rocks for quite aways. Small rock piles (cairns) marked where to go. The views are unbelievable. After the rock scramble (phew), we continued up a steep trail through tundra and here we are finally at the north summit of Buffalo Mountian. It’s a clear day and we can see the Gore Range and the Tenmile Range Peaks. So rugged, so beautiful. Wishing I had my camera is an understatement!

After the first .06 miles of this hike, it felt relentless, always going upward, with areas of steep scrambling without a break or gentle slope. Be ready, be prepared. “What’s in Your Day Pack, Hiking essentials”


From I-70 take Exit 205, Silverthorne/Dillon, and travel north on HWY 9 and turn left at the first traffic light, Rainbow Drive/Wildernest Road. Travel 3.6 miles on Wildernest Road (turns into Ryan Gulch Road). Travel up many curves uphill past condos and at the top of the road, there will be a trailhead parking area on the left. Two trailheads are at this small parking lot. Take the Browns Cabin Trail to Buffalo Mountain. The other trailhead is Lily Pad Lakes Trail. Another fun, very popular, and much easier hike!

Parking is limited and difficult, especially in the summer months. Come early. Another option is the Summit Stage Bus, it’s free and will drop you at the Trailhead.


6 miles out and back

Rated: strenuous

3008 ft Elevation gain

Open to leashed dogs, horses

No restrooms at trailhead

Eagles Nest Wilderness, White River National Forestfor camping information

Dillon Ranger District – 970-468-5400, for the latest trail & weather conditions

Nearest Towns: Silverthorne & Frisco


Ptarmigan Lake Trail – Gorgeous!

Herman Gulch Trail – One of the Best!

Mohawk Lakes TrailBreckenridge’s most popular!

Inter Laken TrailFamily Friendly!

Blue Lakes TrailMost stunning!

Booth Lakes TrailFor hiking enthusiasts!

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